Join us for a flexible pilgrimage experience from your front door. We’ll provide you with audio walking guides to help you reflect, digital debrief group opportunities, and webinars exploring the themes of the guides. Jamie Noyd shares more below. Sponsored by InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries.Â
In the Celtic tradition of Christianity pilgrims didnâ€™t have a definite destination. They only knew and trusted the trinitarian God who called them as they headed out. Consider St. Brendan of Clonfert (AD 484-577), also known as â€œthe Navigatorâ€ and â€œthe Voyager.â€ He exemplifies the early Celtic Christian tradition of pelegrenati, pilgrims who set off on a journey with God, to seek God, and to spread the Gospel wherever they landed. These early Christians would climb into small ribbed wooden boats, covered in animal skins and set out to sea at the mercy of the waves, wind and the will of God to lead them.
Though you may not have found yourself in a small boat, this could be a description of the past year which has felt like a time of wandering for many people. We make plans only for them to be changedâ€”class curricula, research projects, family gatheringsâ€”maybe even several times before they are cancelled completely. We start heading in one direction in our metaphorical boats, only to have the sea of the pandemic, injustice, classroom and research struggles, family conflict, and more take us to a different place than expected.
In such a time, a prayer reflective of Brendanâ€™s voyages speaks to this reality.
Christ of the mysteries, can I trust You
to be stronger than each storm in me?
. . .
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times are still in Your hand.
I will believe You for my future,
chapter by chapter, until all the story is written.
Focus my mind and my heart upon You,
my attention always on You without alteration.
– The Celtic Daily Prayer, Northumbria Community
As a means to focus our attention on Christ during this time, InterVarsity Faculty Ministries invites faculty, students, spouses, administrators, and all who love faculty to â€œset our hears on pilgrimageâ€ (Psalm 84:5) for four weeks this summer. Join in Via Divina: The Celtic Way for Faculty. From June 23 – July 24 we will engage with the Triune Godâ€”the Father, Son, and Holy Spiritâ€”as we explore the roots and branches of the biblical Christianity practiced by early Celtic followers of Jesus.
Similar to the Digital Camino last year, the centerpieces of The Celtic Way are two weekly audio guides that you can listen to as you walk in your neighborhood, around campus, or even on vacation. Each guide weaves together scripture, stories of Celtic saints and places, along with sensory and prayer practices to focus our attention on God. Before each walk, you will be invited to reflect on an original piece of art that relates to the dayâ€™s walk. Journal pages will help you draw these pieces together.
However, pilgrims like Brendan did not head out alone, they often had companions with them.Â Similarly, over the four weeks you will have opportunities to connect with companions along the way. You are encouraged to be part of a local or national debrief group either by forming one of your own or participating in one brought together by InterVarsity staff. You will also have the opportunity to participate in webinars that dig more deeply into the themes of the walks and other meet-ups. As you can see, there is a feast of opportunities. Depending on your appetite and the size of your plate you can shape the experience to be what best nourishes you.
I hope you will join us as we set out to wander this summer. Though we may not know exactly where we are heading in the coming months, we know the One who is with us and we know we will have companions along the way. Through The Celtic Way for Faculty encounter places, people, and practices that help reveal Godâ€™s rooted presence in our work and world today.
Find out more and register atÂ https://gfm.intervarsity.org/via-divina.
About the author:
Jamie serves with InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries as an Associate Director of Faculty Ministry and serves as Director of Faculty Pilgrimage for InterVarsityâ€™s Faculty Ministries enjoying the opportunity to put into practice her doctoral researchÂ in literary pilgrimage and her training in spiritual direction. She coordinates online and in-person pilgrimages. She also ministers with the local faculty community at the University of Cincinnati.